Winter Coffee Club

Korea’s immense coffee culture is part of the reason why so many of my posts have been about cafes lately. I keep thinking that I need to add more variety to this blog again; fewer cafes, more Korean sights!

With that thought in mind, it seems fitting that I would randomly stumble onto a coffee-related exhibition during my last trip to Seoul, doesn’t it?

“Winter Coffee Club” is running until late February at Culture Station Seoul 284 (also known as the “old Seoul Station”). It seems to be focusing on coffee’s socio-historical impact on Korea as a whole. Rooms full of historical documentation about coffee-making reside next to rooms with various forms of coffee-related art, from illustrations to videos to graphic design pieces.

“Room,” by artist Baek Hyun-jin, was my favorite part.

As you can see, there are a lot of coffee beans in there; 1.3 tons of coffee beans, to be exact. My friends and I had a lot of fun stomping around, feeling the beans shifting beneath our feet. It was a playground for coffee lovers.

I encourage you to go check it out if you find yourself near Seoul Station this winter.

Thanks for reading,

Emme

 

카페르블랑 (Cafe Le Blanc)

It’s a cold winter all of a sudden, so I keep hiding out in cafes on the weekends. My aversion to the chilly air has led to some wonderful discoveries, including a place in the Dujeong neighborhood called Cafe Le Blanc.

The two things that help this cafe stand out are:

-A projector screen, which is used to play movies in the evenings.

-The cafe’s playlist, which is usually a mixture of Beyoncé and something…completely different than Beyoncé (that’s truly the only way I can describe it in words…my English degree has failed me here).

Plus, of course, the coffee is tasty. They’ve got three affogato options on the menu now, presumably because someone there is determined to unmoor me.

Needless to say, Cafe Le Blanc has quickly become one of my favorite places to hide from the cold for a few hours.

Thanks for reading,

Emme

 

P.S.

Cafe Le Blanc is a few blocks south of Dujeong Library.

Address: 충남 천안시 서북구 부성3길9

Korean Face Masks

Got a cold and don’t wanna infect people? Is there a lot of dust in the air? Is your nose feeling chilly? Wanna hide a zit? Wanna make your eyes pop? Wanna have something that’s quintessentially Korean?

A Korean face mask is the answer to all of these quandaries.

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Here I am sporting my brand-new BTS mask

You can buy masks in loads of places in Korea, from convenience stores (like GS-25) to gift shops (like Artbox).

I currently own five masks: one for illnesses; two for the days with poor air quality; and two for fashion (like the one shown above).

And will I buy a sixth one? Most likely. I still don’t own one that has a mustache on it…

Thanks for reading,

Emme

Walking in Fall

I’m really missing fall today. I miss walking on the paths in the parks near my house, like this one:

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Those leaves were so crunchy

Korea has some incredible trails. If you ever visit, be sure to squeeze in a hike or two (or at least a stroll in a park somewhere).

It’s worth it. Especially in the fall season.

Thanks for reading,

Emme

A Shrine in Kyoto

Thanks to the heat wave, it was very hot and dry when I visited Kyoto. On the way from Inariyama to Kiyomizu-dera, I kept having to duck into various temples and shrines just to hide from the sun for a bit.

One of those shrines really stuck with me, even though there wasn’t necessarily anything remarkable or unique about it. I didn’t make a special note of it at the time, and I only got two pictures of it. I don’t even know its name.

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Still, I remember thinking that the interior was so peaceful and quiet. I spent a good ten minutes in there, just sitting and sipping my water. It encouraged me to slip out of my frantic tourist mode for a moment. I savored the solitude.

And if the sun hadn’t been so hot, then I might’ve just walked right by this place, full-speed ahead, without seeing it at all.

Thanks for reading,

Emme

 

 

King’s Cross 9 3/4

Am I still nostalgic about Harry Potter, even after all of this time?

….Always.

*Cough* Anyway, there’s a relatively new cafe in Seoul called King’s Cross 9 3/4, and I finally got the opportunity to check it out.

Long story short, I wasn’t disappointed.

First, there’s the nostalgia factor. The original music from the films is played over and over again in the main lobby. The menu’s not too fancy, but there IS one very recognizable cake being offered for sale. Finally, you can find at least one Harry Potter book on each floor, just waiting to be read, or at least used for a photo session.

Second, the whole building is chock-full of photo opportunities. Each floor has its own “theme,” one might say, and there’s a specified “photo corner” on the first level that has its own line. Although a bit crowded, the lobby area includes a wall of wand boxes, and piles of books resting on a bit of a staircase. Plus, there’s the iconic 9 3/4 wall just outside.

I was honestly too distracted by my surroundings to pay much attention to the quality of my coffee, but I remember enjoying it. Still, I’ll have at least one more opportunity to test that coffee: The Hog’s Head (located in the basement) hasn’t officially opened yet, and you KNOW I’ve gotta check that one out, as well!

Thanks for reading,

Emme

 

P.S. Here’s the address:

서울 마포구 양화로16길 24

And the name of the place in Hangul:

943킹스크로스

Fushimi Inari Shrine

The Fushimi Inari Shrine was the whole reason why I picked Kyoto as a vacation destination to begin with. This sounds basic, but I loved reading and watching Memoirs of a Geisha, so I was dying to see those orange gates.

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The main entrance

I went there early and still encountered quite a few people. Still, I managed to have my moment alone in the tunnel.

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Exhilarated by that tunnel, I decided to keep hiking up the mountain. I followed the gates — encountering so many smaller statues and shrines along the way — and eventually made it to a nice lookout point.

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The lookout point

If you go to Kyoto, don’t miss seeing this place. It’s worth it.

Thanks for reading,

Emme

Obliviate Cafe

I finally hit up Obliviate Cafe! I’d spent months repeatedly staring at it as I made my way up to Dujeong Station, but it took a bad day and a friend saying, “Let’s go there; you clearly need coffee,” to convince me to step inside.

Truthfully, I think I waited so long because I was a little intimidated by its sheer-white exterior. It’s just a sleek, minimalist-looking place.

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Also, I need to know where they purchased this dog statue…

Like I said, I was having a bad day, so I got a big coffee with copious amounts of chocolate in it. It was delicious.

If you find yourself anywhere in the vicinity of Dujeong Station and clearly need coffee, then this place is worth checking out.

Thanks for reading,

Emme

 

Things Seen in Kyoto

Thanks to a money issue, I ended up walking all over Kyoto instead of hitching a ride to places. The upside of that situation is that I saw a lot of things I might’ve missed if I had been on a bus most of the time.

Sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words, and I think that applies to this post. Here’s some things I saw as I was making my way around Kyoto:

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A water station at a shrine

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Gion at night

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The view from Shijo Bridge

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Nishiki Market

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Just a nice area near the Philosopher’s Path

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One of the many vending machines in Kyoto

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A nice path in central Kyoto

Looking back, I’d say that Kyoto has several places that are good for a stroll — even a long, LONG stroll. Overall, it’s a peaceful place.

Thanks for reading,

Emme